By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As a fall out of the 14th Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission of April, 2016 to save Chad of drying up, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the POWERCHINA International Group Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to actualize the transfer of water from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad Basin.
At the signing ceremony recently held in Abuja, the Minister of Water Resources who is also the Chairman of Ministers of the Commission, Engr Suleiman Adamu, stated that what the POWERCHINA Corporation has done is to expand the feasibility study earlier done by CIMA International in 2011.
Mr Adamu said that with the expanded study done by POWERCHINA, it showed that it was technically feasible to transfer water from river Congo to Lake Chad thereby increasing the level of the lake. This, according to the Minister would halt the receding of the lake and the drying of the north basin due to climate change.
“The study has shown that the process can potentially transfer 50 billion m3 annually to the Chad Basin through a series of dams in Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic”.
The Minister noted that the project is a generational project as it would take a long time to actualize due to the huge capital involved and the complexity of the nature the project. He however called for concerted efforts from all to see that the project is achievable as this would save the livehood of over 40 million people living within the basin.
Also, the Minister on behalf of the government of Nigeria, signed an MoU with the same company to harness the Water Resources Master Plan in the area of hydropower and irrigation development.
In his remarks, the Vice-President of POWERCHINA, Mr Tian Hailua said that the company was committing both technical and financial assistance towards the actualization of the water transfer to the lake. He added that the company has agreed to fund the project to the tune of US $1.8million in order to make life more meaningful, socially and economically to the people within the basin.
He explained that with the transfer of water to the lake, there is the potential to develop a series of irrigated areas for crops and livestock of over an area of 50,000 to 70,000 km2 in the basin.
Also present at the signing ceremony were the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Niger Republic, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Rabi S. Jimeta, the Executive Secretary Lake Chad Basin Commission, delegation from POWERCHINA Corporation, Directors from Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria and Directors from Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Niger Republic.
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